Cost of living: Which Swiss towns offer the best value for money?

Cost of living: Which Swiss towns offer the best value for money?

While Swiss cities are usually the trendsetters when it comes to quality of life, a new study by property consultancy Wüest Partner has revealed that the expat hubs of Zurich, Geneva and Basel do not give their residents the best value for money. The study claimed that, if you want the quality of life that Switzerland can provide without breaking the bank, it’s best to look further afield.

Swiss cost of living analysis by Wüest Partner

To create the study, released by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), Wüest Partner analysed which towns and cities in Switzerland offered residents the best quality of life for the lowest cost of living. To do this, the firm analysed over 2.100 individual Swiss municipalities through the following factors:

The report noted that no large Swiss cities ranked in the higher echelons. Instead, a number of small towns found themselves at the top of Wüest Partner's list.

Two towns in Ticino the most value for money in Switzerland

Largely thanks to their low rental costs and proximity to Lugano, the Ticinese towns of Cadenazzo and Sant'Antonino were rated as the best places to live in Switzerland for value for money. Coming in third place, and with the lowest living costs in German-speaking Switzerland, was Ried bei Kerzers in Canton Fribourg. The best-rated French-speaking areas were Vionnaz (Valais) and Aigle (Vaud), mainly due to their low cost of living and relative proximity to Lausanne.

In terms of towns with populations over 10.000 people, Wüest Partner recommended two locations in particular. For those who want to live near Basel on a budget, the study advised people to move to Rheinfelden (Aargau) thanks to its low rental costs and relative closeness to the city. 

For Zurich, the emerging city of Spreitenbach (Aargau) was recommended thanks to its dramatically lower rental costs and tax rates compared to the Swiss metropolis, and the fact that it is only half an hour by public transport from the city centre. For those wanting to live as close to Lausanne and Bern as possible, communities in Valais were ranked as the places to go to get the best deal.

Medium-sized Swiss towns offer the best cost of living

Speaking more generally, the report noted that medium-sized towns in Switzerland were the best places to get the convenience and amenities of a city for a far lower price. With the exception of Ticino, the best towns in this regard were located along the A1 motorway between Fribourg and Canton Zurich, especially in Canton Aargau. 

The best places to live, the report surmised, were “marked by the very Swiss compromise: close to nature and only 10 minutes to the S-Bahn, to the traditional or oriental restaurant, or even to the cycle and hiking route, also with access to the motorway."

Housing crisis-hit areas of the Swiss Alps rated worst

By contrast, towns with high rental costs and poor road and public transport connections were rated worst by Wüest Partner. This is why ski resorts and other high-demand locations in Canton Graubünden were some of the worst-rated by the study.

For more information about the findings, and to see how your home town compares with others, check out the NZZ report.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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